South Africa’s leading golfers, Nicole Garcia, Monique Smit and Lejan Lewthwaite, are ready to make a statement at the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club from 7-9 April 2021.
“Six weeks, six events, more than R6-million in prize money and a load of amazing incentives; you bet we are champing at the bit to get going,” said Garcia.
A three-time winner on Africa’s premier women’s professional golf circuit, Garcia missed a full season in 2019 due to hip surgery. She had high hopes of making a comeback last year, but the global Covid-19 pandemic put paid to her plans.
“The last 12 months has been frustrating, especially for the Ladies European Tour (LET) campaigners,” she said.
“We are incredibly blessed that the Sunshine Ladies Tour sponsors and partners are backing us in these trying times.” – Three-time winner on Africa’s premier women’s professional golf circuit, Nicole Garcia
“South Africa went into the Level 5 lockdown shortly after the South African Women’s Open and the LET also pressed pause on their 2020 schedule until August.
“With the long breaks between events and trying to work around all the travel restrictions, the season was really a write-off for most of us. That’s why we all are so eager to push the reset button.
“We are incredibly blessed that the Sunshine Ladies Tour sponsors and partners are backing us in these trying times. The Sunshine Ladies Tour tagline this season is “level up” and it is certainly the right time for all of us to embrace that and take things to the next level.”
Smit echoed Garcia’s thoughts, “It was definitely a season of highs and lows,” said the George golfer, who won the 2020 Order of Merit, courtesy of victory in the Joburg Ladies Open and a runner-up finish in the SA Women’s Open.
“It was ironic that I hit the best form of my career in the worst year ever. I had such a fantastic season at home, and qualified for my first AIG Women’s Open. The rest of the season is hardly worth mentioning, but I didqualify as a barista during the lockdown, so there is that silver lining.
“I am really excited to kick off this season with a bang. Besides the prize money, we have so many incentives to shoot for this year.” – 2020 Order of Merit winner, Monique Smit
“I am really excited to kick off this season with a bang. Besides the prize money, we have so many incentives to shoot for this year. There are chances to secure starts in the Jabra Ladies Classic, which is the qualifying event for The Amundi Evian Championship, and the Big Green Egg Open in the Netherlands, not to mention all the opportunities this year’s Investec South African Women’s Open offers the South Africans.
“Besides earning tour winner’s status for the LET, it’s the qualifying tournament for the U.S. Women’s Open. Imagine having the chance to qualify for the biggest major right here on home soil.
“Plus, if the winner is a South African, she’ll win the Investec Homegrown Award, which is worth another R100,000. For a seasoned pro or an up-and-coming rookie that’s a huge bonus to use towards travel costs. And, of course, R100,000 for winning the Order of Merit. It’s all to play for this year.”
Lewthwaite, who won the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge and the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, hosted by Sun International last year, finished third on the Order of Merit and was primed to play her first full season onthe LET.
“I definitely had high hopes after a successful season at home, but at least I did get to play a few LET events and gain some invaluable experience. So I am ready to pick up where I left off and I think this season is going to be incredible.
“I cut my teeth on the Sunshine Ladies Tour when I came back from college in the USA and it is such a great circuit to build experience.” – Dimension Data Ladies Challenge and the SuperSport Ladies Challenge winner, Lejan Lewthwaite
“We see more international players come out to South Africa year-on-year because the Sunshine Ladies Tour is so perfectly positioned to build competitive form before the European season starts.
“And this year we should see even more top professionals on the tour with the Investec South African Women’s Open being a qualifier for the U.S. Women’s Open. That’s great news for the seasoned pros and the rookies and the amateurs, too. I cut my teeth on the Sunshine Ladies Tour when I came back from college in the USA and it is such a great circuit to build experience.”
The Sunshine Ladies Tour’s most prolific winner Lee-Anne Pace will headline the field in the season-opener in the Mother City. The LPGA champion will be chasing an unprecedented fourth Cape Town Ladies Open title, having won the event in 2016, 2018 and 2020.
Other players on the watch list include LET campaigners Stacy Bregman, Casandra Hall and eSwatini standout Nobuhle Dlamini, Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Jane Turner from Scotland and France’s Anne-Lise Caudal and rising stars Ivanna Samu, Zethu Myeki, Cara Gorlei, Michaela Fletcher and Tara Griebenow.
The Revised 2021 Sunshine Ladies Tour Schedule:
7-9 April: R200,000 Cape Town Ladies Open (Royal Cape Golf Club)
14-16 April: R600,000 Jabra Ladies Classic (Glendower Golf Club)
21-23 April: R400,000 SuperSport Ladies Challenge pres. by Sun International (Gary Player Country Club)
28-30 April: R500,000 Joburg Ladies Open (Soweto Country Club)
7-9 May: R600,000 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and R100,000 Better Ball Pro-Am
13-16 May: :€200,000 Investec South African Women’s Open (LET co-sanctioned, 2021 US Women’s Open Qualifier) (Westlake Golf Club)
Photo 1 Caption: Three-time winner on Africa’s premier women’s professional golf circuit, Nicole Garcia, is ready to get going at the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club from 7-9 April 2021. Photo:Sunshine Ladies Tour
Photo 2 Caption: George golfer, Monique Smit, who won the 2020 Order of Merit, courtesy of victory in the Joburg Ladies Open and a runner-up finish in the South African Women’s Open, will take to the field at the Cape Town Ladies Open.Photo: Sunshine Ladies Tour. Photo: Sunshine Ladies Tour
Photo 3 Caption: Dimension Data Ladies Challenge and the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, hosted by Sun International in 2020 winner, Lejan Lewthwaite, who also finished third on the Order of Merit and was primed to play her first full season on the LET, will face strong competition at the Cape Town Ladies Open. Photo:Sunshine Ladies Tour
With editing by gsport